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Brahmin's - Nuchinunde Snack.

Updated on February 6, 2013
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A qualified Textile Post Diploma Graduate and Ex.M D of a Textile Mill.

Nuchinunde (Steamed Pigeon Pea Dumplings)


I think in every culture, certain foods have a special connotation. Growing up in India, at least, I know such is the case. Dishes that never make it to the dinner table make a surprising cameo appearance during certain festivities, only to disappear for the rest of the year (unless you begged, pleaded, and behaved well in front of mom).This dish, however, I have no idea whence it comes (Glad if anyone fills gaps in my knowledge). I only know I used to love it when mom made it. All it requires is a few ingredients and this dish, which is essentially a snack, can well be served as a light dinner/Sunday brunch/potluck-picnic alternative. Here’s how mom directed me to make it. (I may well have tweaked it a bit, since history is proof that I have a tough job following mom’s instructions).

Soak about 2 cups of pigeon peas in water for about an hour or two. Then, drain them.

Add them to the grinder and pulse. Do not add water, as you do not want a paste. You want a little texture to it, like so…

Now scoop it out into a bowl and sprinkle some cumin powder and salt.

Now get the following sidekicks.

Heat oil in a pan and once it’s hot, add mustard seeds, and let it splutter (you may want to cover the pan when it does. Helps with the cleaning later). Then add the chopped green chilies and the finely chopped onions. Add a few pinches of asafoetida and mix it up a bit to let the ingredients combine. Once the onions turn translucent, add them to the bowl that has the pulsed pigeon peas. Add a good heaping of finely chopped cilantro as well.

Taste to see if salt with the other things is rightly proportioned. Now go grab your idli stand. If you want to get exotic about it, you can use a bamboo steamer, which works perfectly as well.

Grease each little crater in the idli tray with a bit of oil. Now gather a palmful of the pigeon peas combo and squeeze it lightly in the palm of your hand to shape it…

like so… (you can also make it into a ball. But my history with nuchinunde is entwined with this shape.).Its shape is traditional.You can take a picture copyright.

Once finished, stack them up…

and get ready to load it into the pressure cooker. Just add a bit of water into the cooker…

…and place it on the stove WITHOUT the pressure weight (you don’t want a soggy mess) for 12-15 minutes. After that let it rest for about a minute or two before opening. Then pick out the steamed bodies of goodness and serve it up hot with some chutney.

ust biting into it and letting the aroma hit the roof of my mouth, transports me back in time. Thanks Mom!


PS: By the way, my mom told me that apparently my sister-in-law mentioned to her that folks around her part of the state dunk these goodies into majigehuli (buttermilk curry). My knees gave way just thinking about it. Let me tell ya, there’s no dearth to the ways one can get creative about food!

♠ Recipe: Nuchinunde (Steamed Pigeon Pea Dumplings)

Prep Time: 10 mins | Cooking Time: 15 mins | Level: Easy | Servings: 5


  • Pigeon Peas – 2 cups
  • Green Chilies – 3
  • Cilantro – 6-7 stalks
  • Onion – 1 medium sized
  • Mustard – 1 tsp
  • Asafoetida – 1/2 tsp
  • Cumin Powder – 1 tsp
  • Salt – Per taste


  1. Wash thoroughly and add water (till they are completely covered) to soak for an hour or two maximum.
  2. Drain the pigeon peas completely and then add them to the food processor and pulse. Do not make a paste. The mixture should be a little textured.
  3. Add cumin powder and salt to this mixture.
  4. Finely chop the green chilies and onions. Heat oil in a little wok and add mustard and cover. Once it splutters, add the onion, a little salt (if required). Once it turns transparent, add asafoetida, combine, and after about 10 seconds, take it off the heat.
  5. Add this mustard medley to the pigeon peas mixture and the finely chopped cilantro. Mix together so that all the ingredients combine.
  6. If using an idli stand to steam, grease the little craters on each tray. Gather a palmful of the pigeon peas mixture and slightly squeeze it in the palm of your hand to shape it and place it in the idli stand.
  7. After placing all of them, add a little water to the cooker and place the idli stand (stacked with all the trays) in the cooker. Close the lid and without placing the weight on the cooker, keep it on the stove on medium heat for 12-15 mins (depending on your cooker).
  8. THIS IS PURE VEGETARIAN [ No Garlic or Onion to be used.]


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    • michifus profile image

      michifus 6 years ago

      What a great hub. Such a great style and an easyt to follow guide. Looks lovely, ill be cooking this tomorrow! Thanks. Voted up!